Employee scheduling software, in its most ideal form, is meant to save you time while making schedules easy to implement and even easier to access and understand. The most intuitive software gives its user the ability to streamline scheduling, quickly summarize information in reports, and integrate with POS systems to correlate payroll data. When searching for the holy grail of scheduling systems it’s not uncommon to trip over those that are lacking in this respect or that, finding a handful of features you like in a system coupled with a handful more that are missing.
Well we’ve done the research for you and have found two quality scheduling software providers that we guarantee can make your life less complicated.
ShiftPlanning – Easy to use, extremely versatile, and jam-packed with features that make the process not only intuitive, but fun, ShiftPlanning brings a little bit of everything to the employee scheduling table. From its cloud-based operation and free desktop platform to the extensive reporting and exporting capabilities this affordable software is the complete package. The combination of free 1-on-1 training and schedule integration make using the service and troubleshooting problems a breeze.
For a reasonable monthly fee (or an adjusted annual rate) you can create and manage schedules, print or analyze reports and trends, and process staff payroll from the comfort and convenience of a tablet device or desktop computer. No additional downloads or software required.
The mobile components of ShiftPlanning come at no additional cost and add value to the overall offering. From any mobile device employees can access a number of staff-centric features including viewing upcoming shifts and clocking in and out (time clock feature is IP-based to avoid employees clocking in and out while not on location). From the employer seat, and with the use of a tablet, all ShiftPlanning features are available which means you can be out of town or home sick and still manage your schedule on the fly.
When it comes to clocking in and out ShiftPlanning gives you the ability to get creative and have some fun with your employees. The biometric time clock feature, paired with any webcam, takes a picture each time someone clocks in or out. This not only helps employees enjoy clocking in with a funny face but also gives you proof that no one’s clocking in or out for anyone else. Plus, the time clock function of ShiftPlanning is completely online so there’s no need for expensive equipment.
One feature that helps ShiftPlanning stand out in the sea of scheduling software is the fact that the service is offered for free to non-profit business with volunteer employees (and 50% off annually for non-profits with paid employees) – just one way ShiftPlanning goes above and beyond when it comes to service and satisfaction.
- 14 day free trial (full version)
- Full mobile access
- SMS text schedule reminders
- Unlimited employees
- Calendar sink
- POS system integration
TimeForge – Another contender for the title of strongest scheduling software on the market, TimeForge Scheduling secures its position by offering comprehensive setup and scheduling integration on top of around-the-clock help desk support. With a $1 per employee pricing structure and the ability to customize which features you need and which you don’t this scheduling solution is perfect for restaurant’s small and large.
As co-founder Anthony Presley puts it, “TimeForge is awesome!” The company works with owners and managers to help solve and avoid real world issues that face restaurants all over the country. Ranging from human resources to scheduling, attendance, and daily logs, TimeForge has a specific product offering that easily takes care of the essentials. Not certain one of the products is right for you? The software’s free trial lasts 10 days and gives you full access to everything (TimeForge Max) so you can test drive some features and make a confident decision.
Keeping focus on TimeForge Scheduling, the service is ideal for the fast-paced, no-room-for-error world of the commercial restaurant. The service is fully hosted, meaning you don’t have to download a thing, and cloud-based data storage ensures you never lose your information. Once you’ve got things set up and running smoothly, SMS text message reminders as well as e-mailed schedules let employees know about upcoming shifts and shift changes. The mobility of the application gives your staff the ability to log in from any computer or mobile device, which means no more “I didn’t know I was scheduled” excuses.
An outstanding feature that benefits smaller restaurants and businesses is that TimeForge Lite is completely free for up to 24 employees. That means as long as you’re staff consists of under 25 people you can use the Lite version of the service and it won’t cost you a penny. Granted, TimeForge Lite does not include the autoscheduler or text message notifications, but for many small eateries already struggling to find quality restaurant equipment and supplies for less the missing features aren’t necessary.
The system’s ability to integrate with web and POS systems, paired with a 24/7 help desk and free set up support, makes TimeForge easy to implement and even easier to manage.
- Fully hosted
- Cloud based data storage
- Video tutorials
- Customizable pricing structure
- TimeForge Max includes Scheduling, Attendance, HR, and Sales
Quality scheduling software goes hand in hand with a reliable point of sale (POS) system. Scheduling and managing your employees is one step in the escalator ride that is a successful restaurant, and another essential step is being able to confidently track your daily, monthly, and yearly sales. Investing in an excellent POS system is investing in the future of your eatery so it’s crucial to shop around and find the system that does what you need it to.
Gotmerchant – Easily the most impressive system with an extremely attractive pricing structure, Gotmerchant POS hardware is backed by lifetime technical support and is completely free. Yep, you read that right. From the touch screen monitor and micro computer to a cash drawer, barcode scanner, receipt printer, all the necessary software and a few extras you get everything for free. Where other companies charge upwards of a few thousand dollars for just the hardware, not to mention operation and transaction fees, Gotmerchant gives you the system and only charges you for the service.
At an exceptionally reasonable $59 a month, plus $59 a quarter, you get a complete POS station with a lifetime replacement warranty, professional on-site installation, and 24/7 technical support. Need two, five, or even ten full systems? Not a problem. Each complete system is 100% free, and all you need to pay is the separate operation fees each month and quarter. You simply can’t beat the value for the price.
On top of the standard features like debit and credit card processing and receipt printing you get a handful of additional features that enhance the system’s functionality. With your package Gotmerchant provides 50 free custom gift cards and lets you sample the gift card service for 60 days (after which it’s $9.95/month and $0.15 a swipe). Additionally, free menu programming, an internet-based back office component, and more than 75 built-in reporting options give you full control of your POS operations.
Keeping up with the times, Gotmerchant has also recently updated their system to include tableside ordering via iPads. For a monthly wireless charge and small fee for operation of each device (you supply the iPad) your servers can impress customers and streamline the ordering process.
- Free hardware & software
- Lifetime replacement warranty
- Overnight shipping of replacement parts
- Live software demos
POS Nation – The variety of individual components added to an easy-to-use “Build a System” website feature makes POS Nation like a buffet of quality equipment and software. Whether you’re looking to equip a salon, grocery store, quick service eatery, or a restaurant POS Nation has an assortment of system essentials that you can choose from.
Pole displays, fingerprint scanners, and mobile POS all bring an extra element of professionalism and sophistication to a bare-bones POS system. Ensure your system works for you rather than against you by combining the components you need while excluding the ones you don’t. Not looking to put your system together from scratch? POS Nation offers all-in-one options that are customized and streamlined for individual industries.
On the software side of things, POS Nation has a number of different packages, ranging from Quickbooks to Aldelo, Microsoft RMS, and much more, for you to choose from. Also easily shoppable by industry, the software options available have their own beneficial payroll and reporting functions. Just like your hardware, picking and choosing what software your system needs is essential.
Simply put, shopping POS Nation is like shopping a number of different POS suppliers in one place. The hardware offering alone is comparison shopping from the comfort of one website. A POS system is an investment, and it’s wise to not buy the first system you see. Luckily, POS Nation has a little something for everyone and makes the shopping process almost effortless.
- Custom programming
- 2 year manufacturer warranty
- Comprehensive Build a System feature
The General Store – If POS Nation were the large chain store of POS systems on the block then The General Store would be the tried-and-true Mom and Pop place on the corner that’s still going strong. With over 20 years of experience in retail software and POS evolution The General Store has been building and regularly perfecting their own system. Cost effective and reliable, the system that The General Store continues to improve, according to their website, “rivals major retail chains in its power and flexibility.”
Inventory management is simple and intuitive with The General Store software. An unlimited number of items can be entered into the system, and up to 10 price levels, multi-unit pricing, barcode printing capabilities, and stock status reporting all help make supervising your stock easy. Additionally, sales tracking for both cash and charge customers, as well as total system integration and a detailed ledger balance sheet let you map your finances from start to finish.
The General Store’s hardware is built to last and designed to perform. Barcode scanners and printers, cash drawers, the computer and monitor, data collectors, pole displays, and receipt printers have all been perfected to benefit the overall package of their POS system.
More than half of the extra features The General Store has incorporated into its system were based on suggestions from existing users. Plain and simple, The General Store listens to the needs of their customers. It’s this commitment to perfecting their product that makes the company one to consider when picking your POS system.
- Online demos
- Affordable, competitive pricing
- Industry flexibility
- Full accounts receivable support (The General Store Plus)
- Online knowledge base